Last month, Healdsburg native Simone Wilson joined the Healdsburg Tribune team as a staff writer and senior product manager. She will send out an email newsletter about Healdsburg a few times per week, containing a quick synopsis of everything you need to know about what’s happening in town. To sign up, see below.
By Simone Wilson
I admit, I never thought I’d see my name in the pages of the Healdsburg Tribune. As a teen growing up here in the ’90s and early 2000s, there was only one thing I wanted to do: get out.
So I did. Inspired and enlivened by Camille Lehrmann’s journalism class at Healdsburg High School, I went on to run the student newspaper at the University of California, San Diego, while attending college there—then spent the next decade or so working as a journalist for print and online publications in Los Angeles, New York City and the Middle East.
As I’ve grown, though, the more obsessed I’ve become with finding a sustainable business model for small-town news. And the more I’ve had to admit to myself: There’s nowhere I’d rather center my efforts than my hometown. (Hey—as far as hometowns go, you can do a lot worse than Healdsburg. Whenever I’m feeling down on it, I like to pretend I’m in a cozy Christmas romcom about a thirtysomething who moves back home and finds herself.)
To that end, I couldn’t be more excited about my new role at Weeklys, the local newspaper group that—in a dramatic acquisition last year, at the final hour—saved the Tribune from going out of print. Alongside the Weeklys team, with whom I’ve been wildly impressed so far, I hope to help make sure it never comes that close to the guillotine again.
I’ve already begun sending out an email newsletter about Healdsburg three times per week under the Tribune masthead, as a supplement to the in-depth reporting you get from the Tribune’s news editor, Christian Kallen.
My goal will now be to set up a similar style of email newsletter for the other 15-plus publications under the Weeklys umbrella, including the North Bay Bohemian.
Here’s why I’m focused on the chatty, no-nonsense, what-you-need-to-know-now newsletter approach: The world is changing, and I believe that if we want local news to survive, the industry needs to change with it. We need to find new, more intuitive ways to meet people’s deep craving to understand what’s going on around them.
The reality is that most residents don’t have time to go digging for local information or attend grueling city meetings or interpret insider jargon. That’s where newsrooms can adapt and serve.
The health of our community depends on all of us upholding a central hub of reliable information that we can rally around, and through which we can better understand each other. I would be honored if you would follow along.
To sign up for Simone’s newsletters, visit wklys.co/ht or point your phone camera at the QR code here.